Kurt Helin

State of Knicks fandom summed up in one film: “Porzingod”


That. Is. Brilliant.

First, where can I get a painting of Kristaps Porzingas with a halo and holding a unicorn? I need that in my home.

This is a fantastic film by brothers Tyler and Conor Byrne, satirizing the level of hope Knicks fans have invested in Kristaps Porzingis. Just like the best satire this is over-the-top just enough to be funny while still hitting the mark.

The short film stars John Leguizamo (who was awesome in “Chef” by the way) and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

KP, no pressure on you kid.

(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)


There are 10 million reasons Dario Saric may not be a Sixer next season

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The Philadelphia 76ers front office has said it expects Dario Saric to be in a Sixers uniform next season.

Saric himself has said repeatedly he plans to come over and wants to start playing in the NBA.

Maybe. But I can think of 10 million reasons or more he might stay overseas for one more season. Money talks, and staying would mean a lot of it.

Saric was drafted 12th by the Orlando Magic in 2014 and instantly traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Elfrid Payton. Saric then resigned in Europe to continue to develop his game for a couple seasons.

What that means is if he comes over next season his is subject to the 2014 rookie scale. If he waits one more season he can negotiate any deal he can with the Sixers as a free agent — the method both Nicola Mirotic and Tiago Splitter used to get bigger first contracts.

John Smallwood tried to explain it at at the Philadephia Daily News, but we will use our own Dan Feldman’s more accurate numbers:

2016-17: $2,318,280
2017-18: $2,422,560
2018-19: $2,526,840 (team option)
2019-20: $3,481,986 (team option)

For those of you counting at home, that’s about $4.7 million guaranteed. After that point, the Sixers could offer a contract extension beyond this deal, but he would be locked in for the rookie scale that fourth year.

If he waits a season, he can negotiate any deal he can get when he comes to the NBA.

In comparison, however, by waiting out his full rookie scale playing in Europe for three years, Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic negotiated a 3-year deal worth $16.6 million last summer.

And remember, Mirotic was the 23rd pick in the draft and signed this deal with the Bulls before the salary cap spike that will come the next two years in the NBA thanks to the new national television deal. Conservatively, if Saric waits a season he should be able to well $20 million over three years from the Sixers.

That’s more than $11 million more in guaranteed money (at least, these are conservative estimates) for staying in Europe one more season. (The counter argument is how fast Saric can get to the fifth season, waiting a year delays that a year, so if you think he’s a max or near max guy in five years then he can take less now and more than make it up on the back end. But that strikes me as a foolish gamble.)

I’ll believe Saric passes that up to be a Sixer next season when I see it. Maybe he will, but that’s a lot of cash to leave on the table.


Kings unveil well done new logos; part of rebranding of franchise


There is a lot of rebranding going on with the Sacramento Kings.

Some of that they are trying to make happen on the court, which will start when they bring in a new coach (results pending on that part).

However, more may be happening off the court with the team about to move into an impressive new building in downtown Sacramento. Part of that was the unveiling of the new team logos on Tuesday.

I like the new logos (you can see them above), which are both retro and updated, and it’s a clean look.

The Kings are a franchise that could use an image change. There was a time a little more than a decade ago when they were near the NBA mountaintop, but it’s been a steady slide since then — including the team almost moving out of town. There were questionable management decisions first by the former owners the Maloofs (as their personal fortunes dwindled), then by the new owner Vivek Ranadive, who has had a rough learning curve on the job. On the court, there has been a parade of coaches but no playoffs for a decade. The building they were in felt old. The word dysfunction seemed to fit too many moves and decisions.

The Kings see this summer as a fresh new start. The logos are part of that, and it’s a good first step.

The new building in downtown Sacramento should be a big leap regarding image. I’ve been fortunate to tour the facility (more details to follow on that another day), and it feels like another thing the Kings have gotten right. It’s an indoor building but with as much outdoor feel as they can get thanks to massive windows (which retract to allow in the night air for certain events in the right conditions). The sightlines are great, it feels open and spacious. Most importantly, it feels very Sacramento — from the food options through the environmentally friendly touches. It’s also a modern NBA building — the team’s training facilities and medical facilities will be in the same building complex.

All that leaves is the on-the-court issues to fix. That may be the hardest part, and it’s not going to happen quickly, even with DeMarcus Cousins under contract. The jury is still out on how this will go. The Kings are in the midst of a coaching search, which should inform a lot of decisions that follow. The good news is that hands-on owner Ranadive is letting Divac and the basketball people make the decision without interference. Whatever you think of Divac the GM, this is a change and a step in the right direction. The next one will be to stick with one coach and one style of play for multiple years, let some continuity develop.

That all takes time. In the short term, the logos are here and look sharp.

Steve Kerr named NBA Coach of the Year


Usually, this question is reserved for players up for end-of-season awards and honors: Certainly they were good enough, but they missed so much time with injury should they still qualify? It came up with Sixth Man of the Year voting this season with Andre Iguodala vs. Jamal Crawford (voters gave the award to Crawford).

This season, for the rest time anyone can remember, it applied to Coach of the Year. Steve Kerr’s Warriors won a record 73 games, in any other year that wins him the award going away. But Kerr missed the first half of the season following back surgery, and Luke Walton coached the team to a 39-4 record before Kerr returned to the bench. Sure, Walton had players in a system where Kerr had been the architect, but did Kerr miss too many games to qualify?

Nope. Steve Kerr is the NBA Coach of the Year, the league announced Tuesday.

The last Warriors coach to win the award was Don Nelson in 1992.

It’s hard to knock this choice — the Warriors set a record for most wins in a season. To keep a team that focused over the course of a season, especially the defending champions with a target on their back every night, is incredible. Kerr and Walton combined to do a fantastic job.

Here is the final order of finish, as voted on by 130 media members (number of first place votes in parenthesis).

Steve Kerr, Golden State (64)
Terry Stotts, Portland (37)
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio (10)
Steve Clifford, Charlotte (7)
Dwane Casey, Toronto (6)
Brad Stevens, Boston (5)
Dave Joerger, Memphis (1)
Doc Rivers, L.A. Clippers
Luke Walton, Golden State (interim)
Erik Spoelstra, Miami
Quin Snyder, Utah
Rick Carlisle, Dallas
Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta
Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City

Watch Al-Farouq Aminu drop 30 points on Clippers. Yes, you read that right.

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All series long, the Los Angeles Clippers have had a clear defensive strategy: Trap Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, force the ball out of their hands, and dare Al-Farouq Aminu or Maurice Harkless to beat you with their jumpers.

Monday night in Portland, Aminu did just that dropping 30.

His shooting helped key Portland’s Game 4 win, evening the series at 2-2. Due to injuries to key Clippers (Chris Paul, Blake Griffin) Portland may pull off the upset win in this series now and advance. And Aminu will deserve some credit for that.